Monday, May 3, 2010

History Redefined.

Tighsolas porch circa 1900, Richmond Quebec.

Today, it was reported in the Montreal Gazette, and only the Montreal Gazette from what I can see, that Canadians, today, aren't big into History.

Very few Canadians read history books, or scope websites about history.

No real surprise here. Not if the poll defines history in the traditional way.

Of course, if you include 'genealogy' in history, and movies etc, it's a different story.

As I continue to procrastinate on editing my novel, Flo in The City, about a girl coming of age in the pivotal 1910 era in Montreal, based on the letters of http://www.tighsolas.ca/, I am always thinking about history. But not so much wars and such (since my story takes place in those years before WWI) but about fashion history, technological history, women's social history, the history of medicine. EVERYTHING is history. Anyway who collects things is an historian of sorts, a curator.

The problem is traditional history books are boring. They are written by scholars and not writers. (Pierre Berton was a notable exception.) Historical writers tend to put story above facts. I just watched Young Victoria and and it was girly fun but who knows how close it was to history. I imagine a young pre-Victorian (tsk)teenager, even a princess, would have acted very different from the girl in the movie.

Anyway, I must get to writing. I am thinking of making this blog bilingual. But my French....

Aujourd'hui on a publié une sondage dans La Gazette qui disait que les Canadiens ne sont pas les grands consommateurs de l'histoire. Aucune surprise ici, mais je me demande, c'est quoi l'histoire? Est-ce que la genealogie est l'histoire? Bien sur. Les flics? La mode? Pourquoi pas? S'il les Canadiens n'aime pas lire les livres d'histoires, c'est par-ce que la plupart de ces livres sont ennuyeux, écrites par les academiques et pas par les écrivains.